Is the Wii’s wild ride over?
“It is unrealistic for any company in the entertainment industry to believe they can sustain aggressive growth,” Jesse Divnich, director of Analyst Services for Electronic Entertainment Design and Research (EEDAR) told Ars. “The appetites of consumers change too frequently when it comes to how we entertain ourselves. The same pace at which an entertainment product can grow is the same pace at which the product can retract.”
We’ve already seen the Nintendo Wii fall from its lofty heights in the United States. Last month the PlayStation 3 outsold the Wii by 29,000 units, an achievement that would have been surreal even six months ago. The Nintendo DS was still the number one selling piece of hardware, but only by 32,400 units.
It’s not much better worldwide. “Nintendo, which did not break down quarterly numbers, said it sold 5.75 million Wii machines around the world during the period, far short of the more than 10 million sold for the same six months last year,” the Associated Press reported.
anecdotally, I had to drive down to Peotone, IL from Madison WI today (and learned something about Iowa in the process). While stopping for coffee, I noted a huge line outside a Toys R Us – all waiting to get their hands on Nintendo Wii in stock. Granted, I’ve seen Wiis in stock at my local Target every day, but clealry there are still regional shortages and plenty of demand. Especially now that the price has dropped to $200 (grr) I think that this holiday season, there’s a lot of potential for a comeback.
3 thoughts on “Wii will rock you”
Nintendo pretty clearly bungled their late 2008 strategy. Their big games during holiday last year were… Wii Music and Animal Crossing Wii. Neither game did well at all. Actually, they sold a fair amount, but customers didn’t seem to enjoy either. They’ve definitely lost momentum.
I’ve read some speculation about this, and it appears that Nintendo got caught up in the “user generated content” craze (Malstrom writes about this a lot), and was taken off guard when consumers didn’t respond so well.
So if you look at what Nintendo’s done this holiday season, you see them in a bit of a holding pattern, trying to stop the bleeding. They got motion plus out of the door and by all accounts Wii Sports Resort is a sorta replacement for Wii Sports. Then you’ve got Wii Fit Plus, another replacement game. And New Super Mario Brothers Wii, a new 2 D Mario. Mario Galaxy 2, a new 3d Mario game. All of these are sure things, and will sell very well (except maybe Galaxy 2…). They probably won’t make inroads the way that Wii Sports and Wii Fit did when those games launched, but they will carry Nintendo until they can devise something new and exciting. Then again, NSMB for the DS sold ridiculously well. I could see NSMB Wii bringing back disenfranchised gamers… depending on how good it is…
Honestly, I’ve been much happier with my PS3 than my Wii. Indeed, I just realized that I had packed up my Wii this summer when I went on vacation (the Wii is still the premier group gaming system)… and I haven’t unpacked it yet. It’s been at least 3 months. Meanwhile, I’ve been playing the crap out of my PS3 (not to mention watching Blu Rays) almost every day.
You’re right. I bought Wii Music, though I refused to buy Animal Crossing on the theory that I didnt want my daughter spending THAT much time at home playing Wii. Would prefer she read a book. We have Animal Crossing on DS for her instead; we drive to Chicago from Madison a lot so its a better format as a distraction. We have Galaxy, but its not that compelling.
Plus I bought Wii Fit Plus (we are heavy users of Wii Fit) and Wii Sports Resort (because I wanted Motion Plus). Have barely played the latter. And we do have a copy of Mario Kart for Wii, but i havent opened the box (saving it as a Christmas gift). But I wonder how often we will play that, too.
I admit I am tempted by Mario Bros but I already have SMB 1 and 3 courtesy of the Download channel so its actually kind of redundant there too!
I think that the new $200 price point is an ideal one but the problem with Wii is that it sets a high bar for innovation, not just hardware but also in gameplay. Apart from the minigame collections, no one really is coming up with new ways of exploting the technology. I am tempted by World of Goo actually but will that really leverage the unique interface? not likely.
What really would be ideal would be to create a Warcraft client. Wii is in many ways ideally suited for the MMO market.
FWIW, wife and I did some early Christmas shopping this past weekend, including two Gamestops. Saw Wii’s being purchased at both, and people asking about the new Mario game. Only other interest was in the PSP. I think Nintendo is going to have a pretty good quarter in the U.S.
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